Tuesday, December 8, 2020




The 2020 Land Rover Defender is a new SUV sporting an old name.

First introduced in 1983 as the Land Rover 110 with a Land Rover 90 coming a year later — the designations were based on the vehicle’s wheelbase, not engine size — the name was altered to Defender in 1990, but it wasn’t too survive very long in the U.S. market.

Land Rover ceased selling the Defender in the U.S. after the 1997 model because the sporty off-roader did not meet U.S. safety requirements, and  the company ceased production period overall in early 2016 only to bring back the name on a much different — and presumably safer — vehicle for 2020.

The Defender is offered in six trim levels (base Defender, Defender S, Defender SE, Defender HSE, Defender X and Defender First Edition.) and two body styles, a two-door Defender 90 and four-door Defender 110.

Four distinct accessory packs including one (Explorer) that adds even more features to expand the Defender’s abundant off-roading capability) gives buyers the opportunity to trim their vehicle to their specific tastes and needs.

Five-passenger seating is standard, though a jump seat may be added between the front bucket seats and third-row seating is available on the four-door 110 models.

A 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is standard with a 3.6-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder available in upper trims. The engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard, of course, with a 2-speed transfer box.

My vehicle for the week was the Defender 110 X, the top-of-the-line trim with a starting MSRP of $80,900, a good-size leap over the $48,900 for the base model with the 4-banger.

The 6-cylinder pumps out 395 horsepower and provides 405 pound-feet of torque compared to the 296/295, respectively, for the 4-banger while still providing fuel  economy of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 22 highway and 19 combined. The government reports figures of 18/21/19 for the 4-cylinder. All figures are based on use of premium fuel.

Land Rover reports a zero-to-60 mph clocking for the 6-cylinder compared to 7.7 for the 4-cylinder, but both deliver a maximum towing capacity of 8,210 pounds.

The Defender 110’s cabin is spacious with up to 39.1 inches of legroom for those in the second row on five-passenger models and 38.5 when a third row is added.

Standard features include LED headlights, fog lights, panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing front and rear wipers, rear privacy glass, hill descent control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, two-zone climate control, a camera-based interior rear-view mirror, keyless entry and push-button start, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and adaptive cruise control.

Among standard safetyfeatures are a 3-D surround view camera, blind-spot and lane-keep assist, and a rear traffic monitor.

Extras on my test vehicle included a cold climate pack (heated windscreen, heated washer jets, headlight power wash, and heated steering wheel), three-zone climate control with rear controls, off-road tires ounted on 20-inch wheels, and more that, along with the $1,350 destination and deliery fee, ran the final total to $85,750.

What I liked about the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 X:
The turbo-6 engine provides plenty of power, and even with all of its off-road ability, the Defender is a very comfortable highway cruiser and around town as well. Standard safety features on the Defender 110 X include a 3D surround view camera. That’s always a welcome addition on larger vehicles. Having climate controls for second-row riders can eliminate some potential disputes.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 X: Infotainment functions, including the radio, can be tricky to operate. Cargo space is pretty good unless you add a third row, and then you get cramped seating and hardly any room for storage. 

Would I buy the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 X? Yes. If you are looking for a luxury SUV with some extra oomph for off-road activities, this has to be on your shopping list.


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